Tip – It’s time to tidy your virtual house

Pet Dachshund, Slinkie

image by Brent Nashville

Archive old data and tidy up your filesystem so that your backups run faster

A belated Happy New Year. Here is an equally belated Monday Tip to start the new year off.

One of the consequences of living a digital life is the accumulation of heaps of digital data. Now, whilst disk space is now ridiculously cheap, all this digital data can slow your computer down – because of the indexing overhead – and it does take up space on your backup media. It also increases the time it takes for your backups to run.

Now is a good time to go through and have a tidy up.

I try to keep my file systems organised in a combined theme and date order. Thus I have main folders entitled business, personal, leisure, professional and then sub-folders within those: e.g. clients, finance, business development, family. Once I get to folders where there is a distinct time related element; such as letters, proposals, projects etc; I then have a series of year folders.

As an example, I have a folder called business/business development/2010/proposals. I have another called

How I tidy up

Each year about now, I go through the following process:

  • I go through the filesystem and weed out those files from last year that I don’t need to hang on to.
  • I then print a directory listing of the entire folder hierarchy into a PDF document entitled (e.g.) “2010 Files”. I do this step so that my computer’s search facility can still find file references even though the files no longer exist on the disk.
  • I then archive the folders from the year before last on to a CD or DVD. I actually do this in two stages:
    • I archive folders that I wish to keep (more or less) forever on to one set of disks;
    • I archive folders that should be destroyed after a given period – e.g. financial records after 8 years onto separate disks.
  • I can then delete the folders that have been archived in the knowledge that the information is still retrievable and can still be found using the computer’s search facility.

Would it work for your business?

This approach works well for those of us who work for ourselves or are in small businesses. However, the same basic approach works well for businesses of all sizes; it just needs to be adapted.

How can I help?

If you would like some help implementing such an approach for your business, call me on 01480 470 296.

Agdon Associates and Business Continuity UK are no longer in business. This website is not being updated: it has been left online solely as a source of useful information on Business Continuity.

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One Response to Tip – It’s time to tidy your virtual house
  1. RT @GarethHowell Are you ready to archive last year's digital treasures? http://bit.ly/e6885c